By Michael Cerio

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Barney’s friends sure have been busy. Last week Disney and purple dinosaur alum Selena Gomez grew up on Revival, and today we get to see what fellow former Barney star and Disney graduate Demi Lovato has planned for her next chapter.

READ MORE: Social Media Photo Of Student With BB Gun Led To Academy Park High School Lockdown, Delaware County DA Says

Confident is just that, and a showcase for the soaring vocals of Lovato. Coming out horns blazing on the title track where she demands “you’ve had me underrated” before sliding into the still autumn appropriate “Cool For The Summer”, Demi is a force.

In a lot of ways Confident echoes a refined Katy Perry, stripping away the disco dancey parts and doubling down on aggressive fighter imagery in songs like “Lionheart” where she proclaims “we stand together facing a war, our love is gonna conquer it all”. It’s also there on “Waiting For You” where she says “knuckles out, and the guard in my mouth, when you’re hungry for the next round I’ll be waiting for you”. Perry might have the hooks, but Lovato often packs a bigger punch with the sheer size of her voice and her willingness to let it be vulnerable.

READ MORE: Hacker Stole Jefferson Health Patients' Billing Information In November Data Breach

You want emotion? She’s got that. “Stone Cold” goes from piano sadness to church effortlessly, but it’s the gut-wrenching “Father” that leaves the singer most bare. Here she confronts her mixed emotions on the passing of her Father, a man who not only caused pain for Lovato but also battled his own demons. “I prayed for your peace, even if you started this whole war in me” she sings. It’s honest and brutal.

The low-light of this generally strong outing from Lovato really has nothing to do with her. On the Dark Horse-esque tune “Kingdom Come” we get the clearest sign yet of Iggy Azalea exhaustion. The rapper delivers an uninspired guest spot that name checks Mary Kate & Ashley, as well as Family Matters. And not in the “too many Urkels on your team that’s why your Winslow” clever way like Kanye West, but in the “you know Family Matters what’s a Carl without Harriet” uninspired way. This point is furthered when lesser known Sirah delivers a more authentic Shyne-like flow on the very next track.

More importantly, the album is demonstrative of the power processed by Lovato. The voice is there, heartfelt and packed with power. Confident does get bogged down with repeated imagery, but there’s something raw and beautiful at the heart of it.

MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Postponing COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate For City Workers Again

Also out this week is a much more straight ahead effort from progressive rockers Coheed And Cambria titled The Color Before The Sun, and OMI’s song of the summer “Cheerleader” gets thirteen friends to dance with on with his album Me 4 U.